Discuss all things related to 360-degree image capture
360-degree and VR imaging technologies are growing rapidly, with the Ricoh Theta being one of the very first consumer offerings in this segment, as well as one of the most successful. Since the original Theta made its debut in 2013, we've seen four other Theta models, most notably last year's Theta SC, (which costs just $199 and doubles the resolution of the original model) and the new Theta V (which can capture and stream 4K video). In many ways, the Theta line has redefined the way we approach photography. An example follows:
360-degree view of the Pentax booth taken with the Theta S (click to pan and zoom)
While Theta cameras can be linked with a smartphone for remote image capture and transfer, what makes Thetas unique is the ergonomic form factor which enables hand-held shooting without necessitating marriage to a smartphone or a tripod. This versatility makes Thetas perfect for travel, interior photography, events, and more!
As the Theta line will inevitably continue to grow, we've just opened and brand new forum section dedicated to all things Theta! Visit it by following the link below.
Learn more about recent Theta models:
Immediate download access via the forum
Yvon Bourque has been writing Pentax eBooks since the days of the K10D nearly a decade ago. Today, we're happy to announce that his latest eBooks are available for purchase and immediate download via the forum, along with a discount for our users!
Whether you're a beginner or an advanced photographer, Yvon's eBooks can help you fully master your camera. They are an excellent supplement to resources such as the forum, reviews, and official manuals.
The new Pentax K-1 eBook— released just days ago and the most comprehensive Pentax eBook to date— is now available for $18.99. Other books cost $13.99. These prices apply exclusively to eBooks purchased through the forum (see below).
All downloads are in the PDF format. Grab a sample below:
If you decide to purchase an eBook, follow the link below. You will receive download access through your forum account immediately following payment. We accept credit cards (processed securely by 2Checkout) as well as PayPal.
Yvon also offers eBooks for older models, including the K10D, K20D, K100D, K-x/K-r, and K-7. Those are available via his web site.
Finally, we've set up a special forum for the Pentax eBooks should you have any questions or suggestions for the author. Yvon will be available to elaborate on the advice found in his eBooks as well as answer any other queries that you might have.
The majority of each purchase helps support Yvon, a now-retired Pentax enthusiast who has been shooting with Pentax since the early film era. The remainder helps support the forum, and if you purchase two or more eBooks, you will be entitled to a Site Supporter account upgrade with increased photo space and access to our Marketplace.
The latest photos in a beautiful tile view
Today we're happy to announce our latest forum feature: a mosaic photo gallery featuring the most recent photos uploaded by our members in the "Post Your Photos" forum. This new gallery will make it much easier for you to browse photos that have been posted. Plus, unseen photos will always come first, so you're bound to find something new every time you visit!
If you click on a photo in the mosaic, you'll be taken to the photographer's original thread so that you can leave a comment. Should you reach the bottom of the page, you'll find a link to load more photos. Click enough times and you'll see all photos from the past 3 weeks.
Looking back at the highlights of 2014
Happy New Year, everyone! Before we get too far into 2015, we wanted to take a look at the highlights of 2014 from the perspective of a Pentax user. We will be looking not only at Pentax products and the state of Ricoh Imaging, but also news and developments right here on PentaxForums.com.
It all went by so quickly, but 2014 was actually quite an eventful year for the Pentax community. Despite a continuing decline in global camera sales for the photo industry as a whole, the current outlook for Ricoh Imaging and Pentax products remains positive. As we learned at Photokina 2014, not only is Ricoh Imaging profitable, but Pentax products are gaining market share relative to the competition.
3,000,000 Posts on the Forum!
First and foremost, we would like to thank all of our members for helping make our community what is is today: we couldn't have made it without your support of our site or your passion for Pentax products. In early December, our Pentax Forum surpassed the 3 million post mark. Pentaxians around the world should be proud that they have a discussion site that rivals those of much bigger brands.
To celebrate this milestone, we gave away an FA 31mm Limited lens. It happened to be won by RonHendriks1966, and we're sure you will soon hear about his experience with the lens on the forum.
Pentax / Ricoh Imaging Developments
While there was only one 2014 Pentax product announcement that we would consider groundbreaking (the Pentax 645Z), the Pentax/Ricoh camera system is now more compelling than ever. As the company continues to fill gaps in its three key lineups (K-mount, medium format, and compact mirrorless), many products are also becoming more easily accessible outside of Japan. In addition, 2014 brought many more Pentax sales and promotions than prior years, something that we believe has slowly started to spoil us Pentax users. Furthermore, these promotions weren't just limited to the US: Australian, Canadian, and European members were also able to take advantage of great holiday deals in their respective regions. After a brief time-out in 2012 and 2013, the "great value for your money" aspect of the Pentax brand has undoubtedly returned. There is more to a company than just the products it offers, and we are happy to see that Ricoh Imaging is working on improving its infrastructure, product distribution, and marketing.
Some may see 2014 as more a technological stop-gap year for Ricoh Imaging, since little innovation was in fact presented at this year's trade shows. Yes, we did get the 645Z, but most of its hardware actually came from the Pentax K-3, originally released in October, 2013. The two other interchangeable lens cameras launched this year— the K-S1 and Q-S1— placed an emphasis on cosmetics over technology and are very similar to last year's K-50 and Q7 on a hardware level. Similarly, the majority of Pentax and Ricoh compact cameras are either re-badged versions of older models, minor improvements, or re-badged versions of compacts marketed under a different brand.
With this in mind, we predict that the company will surprise us in 2015 with some exciting new technology.
Noteworthy Products from 2014
Ricoh Imaging launched a total of 3 new lenses (2 K-mount and 1 645-mount) and 10 new cameras (7 compacts and 3 ILC's) in 2014.
Cameras: 645Z, K-S1, Q-S1, WG-4, WG-20, WG-30, WG-30w, XG-1, Theta Mark 1.5, G800, WG-M1
Lenses: HD DA 1.4x Teleconverter, DA-645 28-45mm, DA 16-85mm
Third party K-mount lens releases were few and far between, but Sigma did manage to release Pentax versions of 3 interesting products: the 18-35mm F1.8, 30mm F1.4, and USB dock.
The 645Z is a 51-megapixel behemoth designed for professional studio and landscape photographers. While its sensor and image quality are impressive, what really makes this camera unique is the fact that it works and feels like a normal DSLR. It's so user-friendly that the is virtually no learning curve for users stepping up from smaller DSLR formats. It also has a handy tilting LCD screen and it's weather sealed; this combination is a first for Pentax.
On top of that, with its $8499 price tag, the 645Z is considerably cheaper than other medium format systems. Yet it still manages to outshine the competition in key areas, which seals the deal in our books.
Learn more in our in-depth Pentax 645Z review.
The Pentax K-S1 is a bold experiment: this colorful camera is marketed both as a fashion accessory and a premium product. While certainly a better concept than the Pentax K-01, we have our reservations about this camera for the simple reason that hardly any of our members (or anyone, for that matter) own one.
You can still expect this camera to take great pictures, and its new 20.2-megapixel sensor is commendable, but at the end of the day it really brings nothing new to the table compared to the cheaper, weather-sealed K-50. It's a good thing that its retail price has managed to drop by some 30% since being introduced a few months ago.
Learn more in our Pentax K-S1 first impressions. An in-depth review is coming soon.
The Pentax Q-S1 plays a similar role as the K-S1, but as a smaller camera available in even more colors, it's bound to do better— at least in the Japanese market, where it belongs. Except for its appearance, this camera is virtually identical to last year's Q7.
Learn more in our in-depth review of the Q-S1.
DA 1.4x Teleconverter
The HD Pentax-DA 1.4x AW AF Rear Converter is a long-overdue accessory that allows Pentax users to get additional reach from telephoto lenses without sacrificing AF or AE functionality. In our review we found this teleconverter to blow cheaper alternatives out of the water, and thus it deserves to be recognized.
The Pentax O-FC1 FluCard is an SD memory card with bonus functionality: it enables wireless tethering (remote control, live view, and file download) on the Pentax K-3, 645Z, K-S1, and future models.
While the wireless range and performance of this card are both lacking, we feel that it's still a noteworthy addition because it represents the start of WiFi-enabled Pentax cameras. The recently-launched Ricoh WG-30w compact natively features the functionality offered by the FluCard, so we feel that it is only a matter of time before future Pentax DSLRs can be controlled wirelessly without the need for an accessory.
Learn more in the FluCard review and walkthrough.
As 2014 slowly comes to an end, we'd like to wish all of our members Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas! If you capture any great holiday moments, or if you're lucky enough to discover a new Pentax under the tree, don't miss the December "Holiday Spirit" photo contest— our last official photo contest of the year.
Despite a continuing decline in worldwide camera sales, our site and the Pentax community thrived this year. Some exciting new products were announced in 2014, and we've just recently surpassed 3,000,000 total posts on the forum, so we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for supporting us (as well as Pentax) and making the community what it is today.
We trust that you are as excited for the content and news that lie ahead as we are. Before the New Year, we will follow up with another post that looks back at the highlights of 2014. Shortly afterward, expect our in-depth reviews of the Pentax K-S1, DA 16-85mm lens, and the new Ricoh Theta. Stay tuned!
Feel free to share your own holiday greetings and shoutouts in the comments section below.